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Strategic Groups, Frontier Benchmarking and Performance Differences: Evidence from the UK Retail Grocery Industry


  • Antreas D. Athanassopoulos


In this paper we seek to advance the theory and practice of strategic group theory by means of powerful benchmarking tools that allow the composition of strategic groups on the basis of empirically derived production function frontiers. The relative performance of firms is assessed based on multiple inputs and outputs and as a result, firms are associated with different segments of the efficient frontiers. These segments constitute strategic facets and are used in the current paper as strategic group variables. The strategic facets are composed by outlier firms in the sense that they satisfy the Pareto dominance criterion when compared with other firms. Such advancement offers significant advantages compared to the 'average' firm that is used traditionally as a basis to define strategic groups. The proposed methodology for the formation of strategic groups has been applied on a panel of data from the grocery industry in the UK in the period 1987-93. The results of the study confirmed the existence of three stable strategic groups and one with a more volatile membership. Performance differences were also identifiled both between and within strategic groups using as criteria traditional accounting methods and also the relative efficiency indices obtained from the benchmarking methodology applied to the panel of data. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

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  • Antreas D. Athanassopoulos, 2003. "Strategic Groups, Frontier Benchmarking and Performance Differences: Evidence from the UK Retail Grocery Industry," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 921-953, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:40:y:2003:i:4:p:921-953

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    Cited by:

    1. Jordi Surroca & Diego Prior & Josep A. Tribó Giné, 2016. "Using panel data dea to measure CEOs' focus of attention: An application to the study of cognitive group membership and performance," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(2), pages 370-388, February.
    2. Epure, Mircea & Kerstens, Kristiaan & Prior, Diego, 2011. "Bank productivity and performance groups: A decomposition approach based upon the Luenberger productivity indicator," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 211(3), pages 630-641, June.
    3. Chittoor, Raveendra & Ray, Sougata, 2007. "Internationalization paths of Indian pharmaceutical firms -- A strategic group analysis," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 338-355, September.
    4. Herman Aguinis & Jeffrey R. Edwards, 2014. "Methodological Wishes for the Next Decade and How to Make Wishes Come True," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 143-174, January.
    5. Paradi, Joseph C. & Zhu, Haiyan & Edelstein, Barak, 2012. "Identifying managerial groups in a large Canadian bank branch network with a DEA approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 219(1), pages 178-187.

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